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Death in Rome Paperback – June 17, 2001
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Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Everything in this book is at the very least provocative even when read from a distance of 50 years. The author even names his characters to overtly provoke, and incite. Gottlieb Judejahn and the other primary characters are family and obviously share the last name. Gottlieb's possession of the name is arguably the most notorious. He is generously characterized as an unreconstructed Nazi SS Officer whose last name combines the word for Jew with the balance that translates to madness, and weed out. Another name Pfaffrath is a disrespectful name for a priest, and the name Adolf needs no elaboration. The author evens ratchets up the tension when the son (the Priest Adolf) of the unrepentant SS Officer witnesses his father as he fouls a room deep in The Vatican. The author says that as he watched, "Adolf Wept".
These examples are just parts of the setting that surround a bizarre family reunion in Rome. While unfortunate that Mr. Koeppen's work was so suppressed; it is not a stretch to understand why.Read more ›
Within this small group Wolfgang Koeppen captures perhaps most of the ways Germans reacted to defeat, the holocaust and the new world. There is the unrepentant ex-General Judejahn, coming back from exile in Africa. He is perhaps the most vivid character; physically repulsive - fleshy, sweating with massive paws for hands hoping he may return home AND be welcome showing his full conceit.
His wife Eva may be the most evil as she longs the Nazism that gave her status and allowed her to channel and direct her hatred which is now reserved for her son who's chosen the Catholic Church to find meaning and solace knowing his family was central to the killing machines and death camps. She is raw with anger and dominating in her brief appearances.
There is Friedrich Pfaffrath, a deeply amoral character representing the feeble enablers to the pre War madness who then make themselves useful to the allies later. They live in a denial of past deeds that is hard to fathom.
While the story takes place in Rome, Koeppen gives us haunting flashbacks; very brief almost photographs that tells of their previous lives during the War. Koeppen makes it very clear that each of the older crowd was not just "following orders". They are responsible. We can see it.Read more ›
The members of one family meet, more or less by chance, in Rome. The protagonists each personify one aspect of German society: the military, the bureaucracy, religion and art. Koeppen weaves the complex story around an unrepentant former SS man, a then and now middle-level bureaucrat, a young priest and a young composer. The latter two being the sons of the older generation. Symbolism and mythology meet the reader everywhere. The links between Germany and Rome are multifaceted, reaching well back in time. The main characters' names were selected for their meanings: Judejahn for the SS man and Adolf for his priestly son. Siegfried, his young, gay composer cousin, explores experimental music that was forbidden during the Nazi period. He also befriends a conductor and his Jewish wife who had escaped the camps.
There are different levels of connections between the different characters as they move in and out of focus of the story line.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gift for someone. I received it in very good condition. I hope she likes it.Published 13 months ago by Ellen
In my opinion, Digital Rights' review says everything that should be said about this book. This novel of the post-WWII German mindset is in your face and brilliantly executed... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Bookshark
That was "a little joke" of Gottlieb Judejahn, once a member of the SS awash with blood but who evaded the post-War "clean-up" operation and slipped out of Europe. Read morePublished on March 27, 2012 by R. M. Peterson
Death in Rome recounts a family reunion, of two generations of an extended German family, in post-war Rome. Read morePublished on June 20, 2011 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
We are in the early 1950s. In West-Germany, the Wirtschaftswunder, the miraculous recovery from the disaster of 12 years, is in full swing. Read morePublished on June 6, 2011 by H. Schneider
Why is this author almost unknown in this country? This novel from 1954 is a compact masterpiece, a lurid but fascinating dance of death that anatomizes the German psyche in the... Read morePublished on February 21, 2011 by Roger Brunyate